Advantages and Disadvantages of Open-Ended Questions
Open-ended questions have a number of advantages and disadvantages.
Open –ended questions provide in –depth information if used in an interview by an experienced interviewer. In a questionnaire, open-ended questions can provide a wealth of information provided respondents feel comfortable about expressing them opinions and are fluent in the language used.
On the other hand, analysis of open-ended questions is more difficult. The researcher usually needs to go through another process – Content Analysis – in order to classify the data.
In a questionnaire, open-ended questions provide respondents with the opportunity to express themselves freely, resulting in a greater variety of information. Thus respondents are not ‘conditioned’ by having to select answers from a list.
The disadvantage of free choice is that, in a questionnaire, some respondents may not be able to express themselves, and so information can be lost.
As open – ended Questions allow respondents to express themselves freely, they virtually eliminate the possibility of investigator bias (investigator bias is introduced through the response pattern presented to respondents). On the other hand, there is a greater chance of interviewer bias in open-ended Questions.